First-Time Offender Defense Attorney in Miami
We understand that being arrested or charged with a crime for the first time can be incredibly stressful. Whether you’re a student just starting out in life or a professional with a career, your future is uncertain; you don’t know where to turn, whether you’ll lose your freedom or the possible sentencing for a first-time felony. Over the years, we have represented thousands of first-time offenders and helped them put their cases behind them so they can move on with their lives.
Whether you are facing a first-time misdemeanor or first-time felony offense, the fact that you have been charged or arrested does not mean that you will necessarily be convicted or go to jail. Having an experienced defense attorney on your side may result in your charges not being filed, being dismissed, or being reduced, allowing you to avoid a criminal conviction and the penalties that go along with it. Even if the prosecutor files charges against you, many first-time offender programs allow you to plead not guilty and ultimately have your case dismissed upon successfully completing the program.
We can also help you put your criminal matter behind you by expunging or sealing your arrest once the case is over. If you or a loved one is a first-time offender, take immediate action to protect your good name, career, and freedom by contacting our attorneys. We will guide, counsel, and support you so you can focus on what matters most—and stop worrying about the outcome of your criminal case.
We routinely represent clients for all types of first-time offenses, including:
First-Time Offender Programs to Avoid Jail
If you have been arrested for the first time, your biggest concern is whether you will go to jail. The criminal penalties you could face if you are convicted vary according to several factors. An important factor can be whether it is your first offense. Other factors, for example, are the quantity of drugs in a controlled substance offense, the property’s value in theft offenses, and victim injury. Our criminal defense attorneys are committed to helping you understand your legal situation as a first offender and helping you to resolve your case so you can move on with your life. Often, this is achieved through one of several first-time offender programs. Suppose the State Attorney’s Office ends up filing charges against you, and you don’t qualify for one of these programs. In that case, it may still be possible to avoid a conviction and jail with a negotiated plea of withhold adjudication and a term of probation with the ability to petition the court for early termination of probation.
Pretrial Diversion (PTD) and Pretrial Intervention (PTI)
Two private providers in Miami-Dade County supervise all misdemeanor pretrial diversion and felony pretrial intervention cases, Court Options, and the Advocate Program. In conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office, these private organizations provide programs for first-time offenders. Depending on your type of case, you could be required to take classes and/or group counseling in areas such as conflict resolution, anger management, substance abuse, parenting, shoplifting prevention, and weapons safety. You could also be required to complete community service hours. Program counselors ensure that you comply with the particular conditions imposed in your case. To qualify for the misdemeanor pretrial diversion program, the State Attorney’s Office generally requires that you have no prior criminal arrests in Miami-Dade County. On the other hand, prior misdemeanor cases usually don’t preclude the State Attorney’s Office from offering the felony pretrial intervention program (PTI program) to qualifying defendants. As long as you meet the program qualifications and complete the program, the State Attorney’s Office will nolle pros (voluntarily dismiss) your case after a specific period of time. In misdemeanor cases, the program duration is usually from three to six months. In felony cases, the program is six months.
Drug Court Diversion Program
To participate in the Drug Court Diversion Program, the State Attorney’s Office has to agree to send your case to Drug Court. Drug Court is governed by Florida Statute 948.08(6)(a) and is generally available to clients charged with felonies for possession or purchase of controlled substances. This includes defendants who’ve been arrested for a first-time offender possession charge. People with more than two previous non-drug felony convictions, drug trafficking or drug sale priors, or prior arrests for violent crimes, are usually not eligible for the Drug Court Program. In addition to regular urine testing and treatment/counseling, participants in the program will also be required to make regular court appearances so the judge can track a client’s progress. Ultimately, the State Attorney’s Office will announce a nolle pros (voluntary dismissal) of the case upon successful completion. Drug Court typically takes approximately a year to complete.
Traffic Case Diversion Program
There is an alternative to going to court called the Drive Legal Program, which helps drivers whose licenses have been suspended reinstate their licenses without court hearings and fines. Each Driver While License Suspended (DWLS) citation is screened by the clerk’s office to determine whether the driver qualifies for diversion. If they are eligible and complete the program successfully, they can have their charges dismissed.
DUI Diversion Program (Back on Track)
Back on Track is a diversion program for DUI offenders. Prosecutors decide if a first-time DUI defendant qualifies for the program by looking at the person’s driving history, prior contacts with the criminal justice system, and the circumstances of the DUI. If a person qualifies for the program, they will be monitored by either Court Options or the Advocate Program. Upon successful completion, they will avoid a DUI conviction by having their DUI charge reduced to a charge of reckless driving. In addition, the judge will withhold adjudication on the Reckless Driving charge enabling the client to avoid a conviction altogether.
Mental Health Treatment Court
Mental Health Court replaces the traditional criminal justice system with a voluntary diversion program for non-violent defendants who suffer from severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. In Mental Health Court, the primary focus is on community-based treatment, support services, and individualized transition planning for the defendant upon successful completion of the court program. This is a best-case scenario and a genuine form of rehabilitation for first-time nonviolent offenders.
Contact an Experienced First-Time Offender Defense Attorney in Miami
You should be wary of advice from close friends or family members telling you what you should do or what will happen with your case. Contact us today for a Free Consultation. By taking the immediate action of hiring an experienced Miami first-time offender attorney to represent you, you can significantly reduce the chances that your criminal case will negatively impact your career, personal life, and reputation. CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at (305) 538-4545, or simply take a moment to fill out our securely encrypted intake form.* The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.
*Due to the large number of people who contact us requesting our assistance, it is strongly suggested that you take the time to provide us with specific details regarding your case by filling out our confidential and secure intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry in a timely and appropriate manner.
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